Lawmaker says ALRB’s Shiroma must step down for ‘unethical behavior’

ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma must be “removed” from the board because of “unethical behavior,” a California state lawmaker said today.

Assemblywoman Shannon Grove says ALRB member Genevieve Shiroma must go because of “unethical behavior.”

At issue is what Assemblywoman Shannon Grove calls “Shiroma’s financial and political ties with the United Farm Workers (UFW), including $120,000 in consulting payments she made to the union’s lobbyist and former strike organizer, Richie Ross. Some of these political consulting payments were paid while Shiroma sat in judgement of a dispute between the UFW and San Joaquin farm workers.”

“Assemblywoman Shannon Grove commends San Joaquin Valley farm worker Silvia Lopez for her courage, and agrees with a petition Lopez filed last month calling for the removal of Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) member Genevieve Shiroma for unethical behavior,” Grove’s office said in a news release.

The assemblywoman, who represents most of Kern County, is the latest voice demanding Shiroma’s ouster from the ALRB for unethical conduct.

“There seems to be no end to the list of cozy relationships between the ALRB and the UFW,” Assemblywoman Grove said. “The very state agency that claims to be on the side of these farmworkers is at every opportunity fighting against their desire for justice. Silvia and the farmworkers she represents have a right to a fair hearing. How can that happen with someone like Genevieve Shiroma acting as their judge?”

In her news release, Assemblywoman Grove linked to PickJustice.com as a source of more information.

The lawmaker has been following the farmworkers’ fight to have their votes counted on whether or not they want to unionize.

“For the past several years, Silva and her co-workers at Gerawan Farming have been trying to decertify the UFW, after the union abandoned them 20 years ago,” the assemblywoman said. “The UFW suddenly reappeared in 2012 demanding employees pay dues or lose their jobs, even though employees didn’t want union with their earnings listed as some of the industry’s highest. In 2013, the workers were finally allowed to vote on whether to let the UFW represent them, but under Shiroma’s leadership the ballots were locked in a government safe without being counted. Over two years later, the ballots still remain uncounted.”